Law.com correspondent and appellate guru Howard J. Bashman recently posted "Ten Tips for Excellence in Appellate Advocacy." Though intended for attorneys who don’t normally work on appeals, we all would do well to remember Mr. Bashman’s pointers.
My favorite? Tip #6, "Get Outside Help":
The insights of an experienced and effective appellate practitioner can be invaluable in deciding what issues should be raised on appeal and how best to argue those issues to obtain the best possible result for the client. No one may know the case or the governing law better than the trial lawyer, but, to win on appeal, you will need to persuade appellate judges who themselves have no preexisting knowledge about your case and often have little, if any, experience with the law governing the outcome in your case. An experienced and effective appellate practitioner can assimilate what the trial lawyers know about the case and present even the most complicated legal and factual matters to appellate judges in the brief and at oral argument in a manner that is both easy to understand and persuasively reasoned. Highly qualified appellate practitioners do not want to take your client from you or control the case on remand to the trial court; rather, they want to work with you to ensure that your client gets the best possible result on appeal.
Amen to that, brother!